Four days after facial surgery, Russell Westbrook made an early masked return to the hardwood, dropping a career-high in points and rebounds.
After missing Oklahoma City’s weekend against the Lakers, Westbrook came back against Philadelphia in a big way. He racked up his fourth consecutive triple-double — 49 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists — a feat that has not been accomplished since Micheal Jordan in 1989, according to ESPN.
The Thunder defeated the 76ers 123-118 in overtime. Without teammate Kevin Durant, Westbrook has placed himself at the forefront of this year’s MVP race. With Wednesday’s career-high performance, Westbrook now has a season average of 27 points per game, with 8.2 assists and seven rebounds. Seven days ago, in the Thunder’s loss at Portland, Westbrook took a knee to the face from a fellow teammate that left a dent in the side of his face the size of a quarter. In his first game back since the injury, Westbrook wore a clear mask, held in place with a headband.
“For those of you, including myself, that thought Russell might need a couple of games to get used to wearing the mask,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks told ESPN, “we were wrong.”